Motorola was the company which had launched the first commercial mobile phone. It is considered a pioneer in the field of mobile phones. But it nearly died out before being taken over by Google and finally being bought by Lenovo. They now launch phones under the ‘Moto’ brand. The Moto Z2 Play is the second generation of Moto’s take on modular phones. It is not a new concept, but Moto is the first company to make a viable model of a modular phone.
The Moto Z2 Play has a lot going for it. It runs the latest version of Android 7.1.1 and sports a full HD 5.5” super AMOLED display. It has a big 3000mAh battery which supports fast-charging and also packs in a fingerprint reader along with the latest USB C port. The cherry on the proverbial cake is the water-repellent Nano coating over the entire phone. The Moto Z2 Play is available at a price of Rs. 28,999/- in online stores. Let us take a closer look at this smartphone through this review.
The Moto Z2 Play features an aluminium unibody design and Gorilla Glass 4 protecting the display. The build quality of the Z2 Play is simply amazing. At the front, the 5.5” full HD display is surrounded by unnecessarily large bezels. The earpiece sits above the display with Moto branding beneath it. The earpiece is flanked by a dual-tone LED flash on the left side and the 5.0-megapixel selfie camera on the right side along with the proximity and ambient light sensors. The oval shaped fingerprint reader sits below the display along with the primary microphone.
The power and volume buttons sit on the right edge of the phone. The power button is marked with a distinctive texture to differentiate it from the volume buttons by touch alone. The keys are small but have a distinctive click with no play in any of them. The dual SIM and memory card tray is located on the top edge of the phone along with the secondary noise-cancelling microphone. The USB C port and the 3.5mm headphone jack sit on the bottom edge of the phone.
The Moto Z2 Play has a full aluminium body that extends to the back side. The antenna lines which are embedded in the back go around the entire circumference of the phone, thickening at the top and bottom. The camera bump protrudes substantially from the back. But it is so designed in order to hold the Moto Mods in place. At the bottom is the strip of connectors which enable the Moto Mods to communicate with the phone. The phone feels solid in hand and also features a water-repellent Nano coating which makes the phone splash resistant.
The Moto Mods are the real talking point of this phone. This is Motorola’s answer to building a modular phone. The most basic of them is the Moto Style Shell, which supports wireless charging. There’s one which incorporates a massive 3490mAh battery, on which adds a full-functioning speaker and the final one which adds gaming controls to the phone. These are in addition to last year’s Hasselblad and projector mods. All the mods are compatible with both the generations of this phone. The Moto Z2 Play stands up really well in the design review.
The Moto Z2 Play sports a beautiful 5.5” full HD super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which gives it a pixel density of 401 PPI. The display looks great out of the box with well-saturated colours, accurate colour temperature and excellent contrast with great viewing angles. The Standard Mode displays natural colours and they look great as they are closer to the sRGB colour standard.
The Achilles heel of this display is sunlight legibility. Although it is a super AMOLED display, it washes out considerably under direct sunlight and renders it unviewable. This can be a big hindrance when trying to use navigation or clicking photos outdoors. It also packs in ‘Adaptive Brightness’ which adjusts the display as per the available ambient light. All-in-all, the display on the Moto Z2 Play is a good one just the one weakness which could prove to be its downfall.
The Moto Z2 Play features a 12.0-megapixel primary camera with a bright f/1.7 aperture and bigger 1.4µm pixels. It is supported by a dual-tone LED flash, Phase Detection and Laser Auto-Focus. The 12.0-megapixel sensor manages to capture good amount of details in the captured images. The image quality is good, but not overly so. The colours are rendered well, but the dynamic range falls short with a tendency to over-expose leading to blown highlights. In low-light scenarios, the colours lose their vibrancy and images display a distinctive bluish appearance.
The Z2’s cameras can capture good quality photos in daylight and under ideal lighting conditions. But it struggles with low-light and high-contrast situations. The HDR mode on this camera is a hit or miss feature. It is highly unreliable as sometimes it seems to make no difference to the captured image. It needs to be tweaked, rather than leaving it on ‘Auto’, to get the best possible results from it.
The primary camera is capable of shooting 4K videos @ 30fps. Electronic Image Stabilisation is available up to 1080p@30fps resolution. It is not available when shooting 1080p@60fps and 4K@30fps. HDR option is available for all shooting modes except 1080p@60fps. The Moto Z2 Play can shoot slow-motion videos at the resolution of 720p@120fps.
The 5.0-megapixel selfie camera has a wide field of view and a dual-tone LED flash and is capable of capturing detailed images with accurate life-like skin tones. This one is bound to make selfie-lovers very happy. All-in-all, both the cameras on the Moto Z2 Play are quite decent, but not spectacular and are capable of delivering good, clear photos in the right lighting conditions.
SPECIFICATIONS & PERFORMANCE:
The Moto Z2 Play is clearly a mid-range phone. It is powered by the Qualcomm MSM8953-Pro Snapdragon 626 processor clocked at 2.2GHz. It is supported by an Adreno 506 GPU. It is a good solid-performing combination that will keep the phone going without any lags or stutters. There are two variations of this phone.
One comes with 32GB built-in storage with 3GB of RAM and the other one comes with 64GB storage and 4GB of RAM. Both these versions support external memory cards up to 256GB. Day-to-day usage of this phone is smooth sailing. It can play casual and moderately taxing games like Riptide Renegade quite smoothly. But more demanding games lag and stutter.
The Moto Z2 Play gets a score of 68680 in the AnTuTu 6 benchmark. In the GFX 3.0 Manhattan benchmark it scores a 9.9 in both, 1080p offscreen as well as onscreen, modes. This comes down to a 6.5 in the GFX 3.1 Manhattan benchmark in both modes. In the Basemark X test it scores a 10536 and in the Basemark OS II 2.0 it scores a 1259. While these benchmarks tend to put the Moto Z2 Play in the lower performance segment,
the latest version of Android 7.1.1 Nougat coupled with the decent amount of RAM deliver a smooth everyday performance. The big 3000mAh Li-Ion battery powers the Z2 Play for 30 hours of talk-time. Fast charging manages to charge the battery in double quick-time. The performance review of the Moto Z2 Play makes it out to be a decent performer which, while performing smoothly, does have its weak moments.
INSIDE THE BOX:
· Moto Z2 Play Smartphone
· Travel Adapter
· USB C Cable
· SIM Eject Tool
· Quick Start Guide
· Warranty Information
ü 5.5” full HD super-AMOLED display.
ü Android 7.1.1 Nougat with a single key navigation.
ü 64GB internal storage with microSD card slot.
ü 3000mAh Li-Ion battery with fast charging.
ü Front-facing fingerprint reader.
ü Built-in FM radio.
ü Moto Mod support.
ü Water-repellent Nano coating.
û Poor sunlight visibility.
û Huge bezels around the display.
û Weak graphics performance.
û No OIS for the main camera.
û No stereo speakers.
û Moto Mods are expensive.
The essence of this review is that the Moto Z2 Play is a solid mid-range device. Its unique modular design opens up a host of possibilities. Yes, the Moto Mods are expensive. But the very fact that they are available makes this an exciting phone to own. The weak camera performance can be rectified by the Hasselblad Mod or it can be the ultimate conferencing device with the JBL’s speaker mod. The possibilities are endless. The dual-tone selfie flash can prove to be a big draw for selfie enthusiasts. Overall, the Moto Z2 Play delivers a smooth performance and the exciting ability to Mod its performance with modular addons.
· Performance: 4 Stars.
· Value for Money: 4 Stars.